Tackling Today’s Issues: We.TalkAboutIt Talks Politics with Virginia’s Elected Representatives

Raven Harper | Section Editor

Photo courtesy of Aditya Vyas

When it came to this year’s presidential election, everything was on the ballot. Healthcare, the criminal justice system, the economy, education, and COVID-19 to name a few. In hopes to discover how elected officials are tackling these issues, We Talk About Its’ Yordanos Belayneh and Bailey Smith hosted ‘Let’s Talk Politics,’ an open and informative conversation with elected officials, Congresswoman Elaine Luria and Congressman Bobby Scott in late October. 

Sparked from a heated debate in Hampton’s cafeteria one day, third-year students and friends, Mason Cardwell, Yordanos Belayneh, Bailey Smith, Cole Pryor, Darius Henderson, Amber Harvey, Terell Arlington, and Jenai LaGarde created We Talk About It. Built to create stimulating and open conversations about a wide array of topics, the talk show prides itself on the diversity among its hosts as well as the different opinions that come with them. Just recently, their talk show made it to IHeartRadio. 

In a new segment entitled ‘Let’s Talk Activism’, Belayneh and Smith invited Virginia’s 2nd congressional district representative, Elaine Luria, and Virginia’s 3rd congressional district representative, Robert ‘Bobby’ Scott to their event ‘Let’s Talk Politics.’ 

Held via zoom on October 16th, the show’s purpose was to hear from two elected officials that represent Hampton students in Virginia on what they are currently doing from an insider’s perspective to solve these issues. 

Being in a state filled with various colleges and universities, the event kicked off in a discussion about the current pandemic’s effect on college campuses and what it is going to take to effectively and safely reopen. 

Congresswoman Luria mentioned how funding is the major thing that is going to help with colleges reopening safely. 

“We recognize that for colleges and universities to adapt during the time of COVID, that had a huge price tag to it,” Luria stated. “We want to make sure through legislation like the CARES Act and if we can come to another COVID relief package that it continues to include money and funds for higher education to do testing, etc.” 

The conversation then continued, touching on the current initiatives and legislation both Representatives Luria and Scott are currently working on such as; the George Floyd Policing

Act, the College Affordability Act, and the PROAct. These various legislations were made to address community policing, the growing wealth gap, and student loans. 

Focusing on the largest issues affecting the people they have been chosen to represent, Luria and Scott both agreed that their hopes for the next administration are that their work can continue. 

“Working with an administration who will be working with us, not against us on all of these [initiatives and legislations], will certainly be a delight,” Scott said. 

Towards the end of the event, host Belayneh and Smith opened the floor up for questions from the live audience in attendance. In response to a student sharing their discouragement to vote after watching the recent presidential debates, Congressman Scott shared how that should be the exact thing that inspires them to vote. 

“I don’t know why anybody would be discouraged,” Scott stated. You ought to be activated to vote. 

As the event came to a close, people in attendance were left with greater insight on what their elected officials are currently working on to fight for citizens like themselves. Host Yordanos Beleyaneh also left attendees with an encouraging message, urging them to go out in vote on November 3. 

“To the young adults, as the future of tomorrow, it is our duty to stand up for change. The revolution starts with us. So why not act now?” Beleyaneh stated. To hear more discussions like this, follow Let’s Talk About It on Instagram @we.talkaboutit. You can also find them through their podcasts on Spotify, WeHeartItRadio, and Youtube.

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